JAMESTOWN – The Winter Storm Warning that’s wreaked havoc throughout the northeast United States is also making its presence felt locally, with yet another day of closings and cancellations.
The National Weather Service says the Winter Storm Warning will remain in effect until 8 p.m. Wednesday, with snow expected before noon, then snow showers likely after noon. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are predicted for the day, with areas of blowing snow are also expected after 11 a.m. It will be blustery, with a high near 20 degrees, but the wind chill values can be as low as -5.
Because of the weather, all school districts in the area are closed on Wednesday, including Jamestown, Falconer, Frewsburg, Southwestern, Bemus Point, Randolph, Panama, Chautauqua Lake and Cassadaga Valley.
However, Jamestown Community College will be open, as well as Jamestown Business College and Fredonia State.
WNYers QUESTION TUESDAY CLOSINGS
Wednesday marks the second day in row schools in the area were cancelled, but unlike Wednesday when the decision was made at the local level by each individual district, schools across the state closed on Tuesday due to a state of emergency mandate issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The governor issued the state of emergency for all 62 counties in New York State, meaning only state workers essential to responding to the snow storm – such as highway employees and public safety officials – were to report to work. Everyone else was closed down, including state colleges and universities, as well as state government agencies. The governor also announced a tractor-trailer ban on the state Thruway and other major highways across New York state, including Interstate 86-and Route 17 across the Southern Tier.
Most public school districts in Western New York also heeded the governor’s call, and cancelled classes for Tuesday.
The governor’s decision to declare a state of emergency for the entire state, including Western New York, resulted in criticism from residents and elected officials. Western New York is accustomed to dealing with large snow fall and by comparison to the eastern portion of the state, our region actually received less snow fall. In fact, by mid-afternoon Tuesday, only about half a foot of snow had fallen in Buffalo.
According to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Albany has declared a state of emergency before, but never to the extreme of shutting down all of state government. Poloncarz told the Buffalo News that normally, the declaration simply gives the governor more power to move plows and heavy equipment to areas that need them.
“Let’s show some backbone, folks,” Poloncarz tweeted early Tuesday in response to the mandated closings.